Dr. Emmett Carson to Discuss Martin Luther King

Atherton, Calif.&emdash;In one of his most famous speeches, delivered two months to the day before he was assassinated, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. urged fellow civil rights proponents to transform the natural urge for attention&emdash;what he referred to as the “drum major instinct”&emdash;into a force for the common good.

Now, just a few weeks shy of the 40th anniversary of that speech, Bay Area civic leader, Dr. Emmett D. Carson, the chief executive officer and president of the new Silicon Valley Community Foundation, will invoke Dr. King's inspirational words in “MySpace, Facebook and The Drum Major Instinct: On MLK and Social Justice,” a Menlo College talk in recognition of Martin Luther King Day. Dr. Carson's presentation will take place on Thurs., Jan. 17, 7 p.m., at the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church's (MPPC's) 700 Santa Cruz Avenue building in Menlo Park. The program is free, and the public is invited to attend. The College is grateful to MPCC for donating its space for this program, as well as to the church's Impact Community, which has volunteered to assist the College during the event.

During his address, Dr. Carson, will share ideas about motivating younger generations toward actions that support positive change and public well-being. Just as Dr. King contended that individual self-interest could become a catalyst for altruism, Dr. Carson maintains that contemporary social networking mechanisms&emdash;MySpace and Facebook, among them&emdash;can be used to similar effect.

Formerly the president and chief executive officer of The Minneapolis Foundation, where he saw assets increase from $186 million to more than $600 million during his tenure, Dr. Carson now leads one of the largest and youngest foundations in the nation, with assets of more than $1.9 billion. Silicon Valley Community Foundation is the result of a recent merger of Community Foundation Silicon Valley and Peninsula Community Foundation.

Dr. Carson is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College, one of this country's most prestigious black men's colleges, of which Dr. King was also an alumnus. He received his master's degree and doctorate in public administration and international affairs from Princeton University. An author of more than 75 works on philanthropy and social justice, Dr. Carson served earlier in his career as the first manager of the Ford Foundation's worldwide grantmaking program on philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. He also worked for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the Congressional Research Service.